Jordan Zimmermann has fared extremely well in his full-season return from Tommy John elbow surgery, posting a 3.12 ERA and 98/22 K/BB ratio in 21 starts, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals will soon remove him from the rotation in an effort to limit the 25-year-old right-hander’s workload.
According to Kilgore the Nationals don’t want Zimmermann throwing more than 160 innings this season and he’s already logged 133, so they’re expected to give him just four more starts before shutting him down.
Unless they skip his turn in the rotation several times before then that would likely mean Zimmermann not starting at all in September, with Stephen Strasburg potentially stepping into the rotation spot during the final month if his own recovery from Tommy John surgery continues to go well.
Davey Johnson indicated that he’d like to talk general manager Mike Rizzo into expanding the limit because of how well Zimmermann has pitched, but avoiding that temptation is the smart move. Ultimately a big part of the Nationals’ future involves Strasburg and Zimmermann atop their long-term rotation and a few extra September starts don’t mean much in terms of reaching that goal.